Frozen Charlotte – Alex Bell


Publisher: Stripes Publishing

Release Date: 2014

Genre: Young Adult


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Dunvegan School for Girls has been closed for many years. Converted into a family home, the teachers and students are long gone. But they left something behind…

Sophie arrives at the old schoolhouse to spend the summer with her cousins. Brooding Cameron with his scarred hand, strange Lillias with a fear of bones and Piper, who seems just a bit too good to be true. And then there’s her other cousin.
The girl with a room full of antique dolls. The girl that shouldn’t be there. The girl that died.

What are Frozen Charlotte dolls?

I have never heard of Frozen Charlotte dolls until picking up this book, after realising they were a big part of the book I decided to look them up. WOW, these dolls are creepy, I am not a fan of dolls in the slightest, especially china. These dolls send chills down my spine though. Knowing what they looked like certainly kept me on edge the entire book. Honestly, I felt sick just looking at the below picture to show you guys.

creepy_dollsThe doll was created after a poem by Seba Smith sometime in the 1800’s named A Corpse Going to a Ball. In 1843 a ballad influenced by this poem was published, known as Fair Charlotte, or Young Charlotte. The poem/ballad is a cautionary story about a young girl who refuses to wrap up warmly whilst riding by sleigh to a New Years Ball. Once arriving at the ball, her partner, Charlie finds that she has frozen to death on route. The lyrics of which are here.

The Frozen Charlotte dolls were made shortly after as toys for children. The dolls are made from one solid piece and range in size. Tiny ones are known as Penny dolls and were put in Christmas puddings for children. The idea is that they are frozen and children make clothes for them out of material scraps and ribbons.


Sophie’s story starts when she and best friend Jay are hanging out at a local diner. Jay shows her an Ouija-board app he has downloaded and suggests they give it go. The first name that pops into Sophie’s mind is her cousin Rebecca Craig. Rebecca did eight years ago under mysterious circumstances, her parents don’t like to talk about it. The Craig family, who Sophie will be staying with for two weeks whilst her parents are on an anniversary trip.

waiting-for-youThe Ouija-board seems to malfunction, repeating phrases ‘Black Sand’, ‘Charlotte is cold’ and ‘Daddy says never open the gate’, including playing a little girl singing the Frozen Charlotte ballad. Jay asks one more question ‘When will I die?’…’Tonight’. The diner is plunged into darkness, screams from the kitchen echo around the room from a waitress burning herself in a deep fat fryer, and Sophie is sure she sees the outline of someone standing on one of the tables. One with long hair and a skirt, a little girl.

Did she really see it? And did she imagine when she felt a small cold hand hold hers?

The Craig’s

Sophie’s uncle and cousins live in the old Dunvegan School for Girls;

Uncle James who lives in his own world, cooped up in his studio painting, coming out only for meals.

Her aunt who had a breakdown after Rebecca’s death and now resides in a mental health hospital.

Cameron, the musical genius, who could have had his pick of any university. That was before his accident, the fire which left his hand and arm scarred. come-to-play

Piper, sweet Piper, the one person who doesn’t seem to have been affected by Rebecca’s death. Her smile seems just a little too bright, and her eyes gleam just a tad too much.

Lilas, the seven-year-old who is petrified of bones, including the ‘evil skeleton’ inside her. She cannot stand being near Rebecca’s room and claims she can hear the dolls talking, scratching…..pleading.

Then there’s Rebecca, if she died eight years ago why are there whispers coming from her room? Why does Sophie seem to keep seeing her everywhere?

Sophie makes her way to Skye in Scotland to stay with the Craig’s for two weeks, over which she intends to get to the bottom of Rebecca’s death.

The book

Frozen Charlotte is written in a way that draws you in from the first page. dollsThe book flows extremely well as you, alongside Sophie, try to get to the bottom of the mystery of Dunvegan School for Girls.

Full of intrigue, this is a book that makes you question who can be trusted right to the very end.

As a horror, it’s not gory in a way that will put non-horror readers off, but a crime story, full of passion. Death is seeped into every page, as we see everyone dealing with it.

Final Thoughts

Frozen Charlotte was a seriously gripping book. I love anything horror, and quite enjoy the thrill of being scared. This book was written in such an intelligent way that I almost forgot it was a horror book as it feels so comfortably into a crime genre.

To me, Sophie was so endearing and I felt excited to follow along with her adventure. She certainly didn’t let her fear hold her back and chased the story even when she wanted to give up.

For me, the dolls added a serious creep factor as they are something I hate in real life. This is a fantastic read and I strongly recommend it.


5/5 Stars

I read Frozen Charlotte as part of the Zoella bookclub which was exclusive to WHSmith.

WHSmith included many additional things on their blog in relation to the books, some of which I’ve listed below:bookclub

Zoella and WHSmith’s reviews: here

A deleted scene from the book: here

Frozen Charlotte soundtrack: here

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